Morrelli & Melvin wins Americas Cup design competition

Click the thumbnail for the AC72 photos

This is really exciting for us. Gino and Pete have done an outstanding job on the design proposal for America’s Cup 34. The new “AC72” is a 72-ft solid wing cat manned by only eleven crew. The cup is once again going to be really exciting! Here’s an excerpt from the Sept 13, 2010 announcement:

(…) Technology returns to the fore with the AC72 wingsail America’s Cup catamaran, capable of regularly exceeding speeds of 30 knots.

The AC72 will excite fans as it zips around the racecourse with one hull in the air. Equally important, it will leave the crews exhilarated and drained after a day of adrenaline-fueled racing.

Crucial to the new boat is its ability to be raced hard in light and strong winds, a necessary development to do away with the frustrating delays of racing because of not enough wind or too much.

Fast to grab and retain the attention of a new audience, it also had to be technically stimulating to design and physically demanding for the crew to sail.

There will only be 11 crewmembers, six fewer than the heavy-displacement ACC monohull it replaces.

“The AC72 Class adds a new dimension to America’s Cup design and technology,” said Pete Melvin, a chief architect of the rule and champion multihull sailor. “The AC72 will place exacting demands on the helmsman, crew and support team that the vast majority of us who call ourselves ‘weekend racers’ could never hope to develop.”

The new class of America’s Cup catamaran is a tightly defined “box rule.” Certain parameters have been set, such as overall length, beam, displacement and sail area. Other factors are limited to keep the competition close across all wind speeds.

So that no team would have an unfair advantage by creating the rule, US SAILING and Morrelli & Melvin Design & Engineering authored the rule.

“Near the beginning of the process we were requested to look at a catamaran instead of a trimaran because it’s easier to transport, assemble and disassemble,” Melvin said.

“The difference in the performance characteristics is not significant, and a cat was judged less expensive to build. From there, the experience of two America’s Cups in which wingsails were used (1988 and 2010), coupled with the latest developments in wingsail technology, made it natural to morph the design rule into a catamaran with a wingsail,” said Melvin.

(…) “It’s been challenging to have the cat fully powered-up and flying a hull in light winds, yet also able to sail in 30 knots,” Melvin said. “We put a lot of time and effort into sizing the wingsail and the platform dimensions in order to sail in that full range.”

Read more » Note: Morrelli & Melvin are the designers of our ADAGIO. We are hopeful that San Francisco Bay will be chosen as the venue for AC34. Below is the Skidmore rendering of the proposed America’s Cup Village.

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